Forward Ryan Marker continues to set up teammates and light the lamp on a continuous basis. The Delaware Thunder forward from Sewell, New Jersey leads the expansion squad with 13 goals that have him tied for 3rd place in the Federal Prospects Hockey League. In addition, his 24 points are tied for 4th and his 11 assists rank him among the top five in the circuit.
“Ryan is a threat (to score) every time he’s on the ice,” said Thunder Head Coach Charlie Pens, Sr. “He has great character and carries a great attitude onto the ice and into the locker room. He’s a solid teammate and a true professional.”
Unfortunately, the 25-year old talented sniper has been unable to help his first year team ascend the Eastern Division of the FPHL. Delaware lost its fourth straight game on Saturday night, Nov. 30 at Watertown Arena by a 5-1 count. Division leader Waterbury (11-2, 33 points) raced to a 4-0 lead by late in the second period before Thunder forward Eric Masters cut the lead to 4-1. The goal was set up by Marker and defenseman Daniel DeCristofaro.
The Wolves, who rank 2nd in goals against and 3rd in goals for in the Federal Prospects Hockey League, added a third period goal against Thunder backup netminder Morgan Hudson (six saves). Starting goalie Aaron Taylor made 28 saves while allowing four goals in 40 minutes of work as Delaware outshot the Wolves, 42-39.
“We actually played well for the most part this past weekend,” said Coach Pens. “Specifically, I thought we outplayed (Watertown) on Saturday night for most of the game.”
The game featured a trio of fights; Thunder forward Patrik Tondl traded punches with Wolves defenseman Preston Kugler on two occasions, while Delaware blueliner Charles Pens, Jr. battled Watertown defenseman Marvin Powell once.
The Thunder (2-10), who have six points and are in 5th place in the Eastern Division, dropped a 5-2 verdict the previous evening. Marker hit the back of the net four minutes after the Wolves had opened the scoring in the first period, with assists coming from DeCristofaro and defenseman Egor Kostukov. After Watertown took a 3-1 with two second period goals, Delaware forward Brennan Young cut the lead to 3-2 on an assist by forward Taylor Cutting. But Watertown tacked on a pair of third period power play goals. Thunder goalie Taylor finished with 37 saves as the Wolves outshot Delaware, 42-38.
Thunder forward Brandon Contratto also continued to rank near the top in several scoring categories. His 15 assists are tied for 2nd while his 21 points rank 5th. As a team, the Thunder finished the weekend in 9th place for goals scored (35) and goals against (59) in the FPHL.
“Roster changes are coming this week,” said Coach Pens. “We need to start scoring. We’re a good team, but we just can’t seem to score goals.”
The Thunder previously dropped both ends of a two-game pre-Thanksgiving home stand at the ThunderDome in Harrington, Delaware to Eastern Division rival Elmira, New York. Delaware exploded for a 3-0 lead on by early in the second period on Saturday, November 23 before losing 7-5 despite Marker’s three-goal Hat Trick. They also lost on Friday, Nov. 22 by a 4-2 score at First Arena.
Delaware will visit Eastern Division rival Danbury, Connecticut this weekend with 7 p.m. opening puck drops on Friday and Saturday. The Hat Tricks are in third place with a 7-4-0-0-2 record.
The Thunder returns home the weekend of Dec. 13-14 to host the Danville (Illinois) Dashers from the league’s Western Division. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. For ticket information, please call (302) 398-PUCK or visit https://www.168tickets.com/venue.php?venueID=280.